Souris to MacGregor

Today has been a long one starting with a wake up at 4:25 a.m. Central Time. We have everything ready for coffee and breakfast, prepare the RV to move and head to the library to access their wi-fi. By 5 a.m. we are watching the funeral.

Today was probably my earliest start at 7:45 a.m. There was a strong wind coming from the West, which is unusual and added to the challenge of the day. Not far out of town I cycled by a truck at the side of the road. Once past I noticed the entire front end was smashed in and the right turn signal was flashing. I returned the few feet back to the truck concerned that someone might still be in the vehicle and injured. Sure enough, there is a man in the back seat huddled in a blanket. When he sees me approaching he opens the back door and gets out. He indicates that he is OK. Turns out that he hit a deer. He said it came out of nowhere and there was no opportunity to break or swerve. When you look at the amount of damage to the truck, it is amazing to think that it was all caused by hitting a deer and equally amazing that this man is not injured in some way. Once again he insists that he is OK, tells me that his wife is on her way from Winnipeg and thanks me for stopping to check on him. Back to cycling. About 45 minutes later a car pulls up along side me. It is the man from the accident. He is hanging out the passenger window while his wife drives. Again he thanks me for stopping, wishes me a safe ride and they are gone. Back to cycling.

Yesterday I was averaging 18-19 mph and today with the head wind I struggle to maintain 10-11 mph. To make matters worse traffic has significantly increased especially transport trucks and as I turn off highway 10 onto highway 2 there is no paved shoulder.

At a roadside rest stop, I meet Linda. She is just pulling out but stops to greet me as I pull in. A full twenty minutes later we are still chatting. She has turned off her engine, in no obvious hurry to head to her destination, which I learn is Brandon. We have a great chat about Canada and how many Canadians miss out on the chance to travel around what is a beautiful country. Linda tells me about one of her favorite vacations. She had entered a Scrabble competition in Regina towards the end of September and a second tournament in Calgary at the end of October. She decided she wasn’t going home between tournaments. Every day she started by exploring the town she stayed in the night before and then set off for her next destination. Each day she stopped driving by 4 p.m. and stayed in a local motel/hotel in a different small town and ate at the local restaurant. She mentioned that she didn’t think she stayed at or ate at a chain over the course of her 31 days on the road. Part of out conversation focuses on parallel roads, I’m hoping she will know which if any have a paved shoulder. Unfortunately she doesn’t, we say our goodbyes and off she goes towards Brandon but not before I get her photo.

Finally, at the town of Holland we decide the road isn’t safe for me and that I’m causing issues for the transport trucks. We decide to load the bike on the RV and drive highway 34 up to the Trans-Canada. Some might consider this cheating but it didn’t get me any closer to Winnipeg in fact in the end I believe it was a few miles further from Austin to Winnipeg. The move was all about safety. I’m fortunate to have a support vehicle and the ability to make these decisions.

We end the day in MacGregor at a community campground run by the local Lions Club. We are the only ones at the campground.

Hit a deer

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